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Ethics Issues

Legal Ethics and Outsourcing: Just Because It’s Outsourced, Doesn’t Mean You Can Bill for It

October 29, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

At some time or another, law firms of all sizes have outsourced legal support services such as legal research and writing, e-discovery or document review.  There’s no question that law firms can bill clients for legal support services and even charge a markup, at least under ABA Ethics Opinion 08-451 and the majority of jurisdictions. […]

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Will Legal Ethics Rules Hobble Lawyers From Educating Clients on the Meaning of Data-driven Legal Marketing?

October 2, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

Call it the fantasy lawyering league. Just as sports aficionados rely on past seasons’ statistics to put together a fantasy football team, soon, consumers now have ready access to lawyers’ track records at their fingertips courtesy of big data — and can draft a dream team lawyer based on objective facts rather than subjective referrals […]

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Lawyer Marketing and Ethics Meets the Real World

September 17, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

Be careful what you wish for.  Lawyers have long argued that law is a business, not a profession – and if these recent  events are any indication, lawyers may have gotten their wish. Only turns out, the real world has even less tolerance for deceptive marketing practice than ye old bar association. Gregory Turza, a […]

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Does Your Law Firm Have a Compliance Program – and How Ethics Rules Discourage Them

August 13, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

Although many law firms advise corporate clients on compliance, few firms have compliance programs in place observe Compliance strategists Donna Boehme and Joseph Murphy in this terrific piece, Inconvenient Truths About Law Firm Compliance.  That law firms are subject to ethics rules is no excuse, contend Boehme and Murphy.  Legal ethics rules didn’t deter the […]

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Future Fridays: Who Will Be Legal Ethics’ Carl Malamud?

August 9, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

Looks like ABA Legal Rebel,  Carl Malamud, leader of the “free law movement” is at it again. This time, reports the Washington Post, Malamud has been busy posting building codes that govern at his website, PublicResource.org. Trouble is, the building codes — enacted by state and local law — incorporate industry-developed standards which are protected […]

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Real Life Legal: Opposing Counsel Throw Up Barriers to Unbundled Services

July 5, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

(Note – I spoke too soon in my earlier post – but I had to get this off my chest!) This past February 2013, the ABA passed this Resolution to encourage practitioners  (presumably solos and pre-paid providers, since those committees co-sponsored the resolution) to provide unbundled legal services.  No doubt, most ardent proponents of unbundled […]

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New Practice Area for Lawyers: Be A Privilege Shield

April 2, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

The ABA Journal reports on a new practice trend for lawyers: acting as  privilege shield. As hacker attacks increase, companies are turning to lawyers to assist with initial investigations. While presumably lawyers bring substantive knowledge to the table and can help companies assess potential liability, they offer an even more valuable benefit: privilege.  Many companies […]

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Techno-powered Ethical Oversight for Lawyers – What Do You Think?

February 12, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

Last month, Docracy , a slick  form-sharing platform launched a  Terms of Service  (TOS) tracker that monitors the TOS at over 900 social media sites.  Docracy’s new tool (which you can subscribe via  RSS feed ) is indispensable whether you’re a lawyer reliant on sites like Facebook or Twitter to market your practice or who […]

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Should the Bars Get Help from Yelp?

October 25, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

When it comes to social media, many bar disciplinary bodies have expressed reservations about testimonials.  Some states permit lawyers to post testimonials on their websites only with prominent disclaimers, while others impose a duty on lawyers to monitor third-party sites like Avvo or LinkedIn where testimonials might crop up. Though testimonials can potentially be deceptive […]

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To the ABA – Tear Down the Pay Wall that Keeps Ethics Opinions From Seeing the Light Of Day (Sign My Change.org petition)

October 19, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

If you thought that aggressive enforcement of copyright was only for the RIAA, think again.  The ABA is just as intent about enforcing copyright interests in its ethics opinions. But whether you agree with the RIAA’s tactics or not, at least its copyright enforcement activity is intended to protect RIAA’s constituents; artists, musicians and record […]

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